A dedicated nurse pounded the streets of the capital in the world’s biggest road race to raise money for the Rotherham Hospital and Community Charity’s Purple Butterfly Appeal.
Joanne Clough, of Bramley in Rotherham, started running just over a year ago after a life-changing diagnosis of high-functioning autism, which is also often known as Asperger’s syndrome. Running has helped the 40-year-old to manage her condition and has spurred her on to complete a marathon.
The specialist stroke nurse at The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust is now proudly wearing her medal after completing the Virgin London Marathon on 22 April in 5 hours and 57 minutes. Her determination has also helped to raise £2,404.50 for the Purple Butterfly Appeal.
“Taking part in the London Marathon for a charity which is really close to my heart has been one of the highlights of my life. Apart from having my daughter and getting married, I can’t think of anything better. It was wonderful and something I’ll never forget,” Joanne said.
“The hot weather meant it was incredibly challenging and I’d have liked to have achieved a faster time. But that just makes me want to do it again. The atmosphere was incredible. Listening to all the musical entertainment and enjoying the iconic sights of London on the way around kept me going.”
Joanne was the Charity’s first official London Marathon runner and signed up to help honour the memory of her mother Linda Pritchard.
Linda sadly died five years ago, aged 66, after battling multiple sclerosis. She was a nurse in coronary care at Rotherham Hospital for more than 30 years.
Joanne added: “Having high-functioning autism makes me a really focused and determined person and I wanted to harness that energy and use it for something good like honouring my mum’s memory. I also wanted to prove to myself that autism would not hold me back.
“I know my family would definitely have benefitted from a home-from-home facility like the Purple Butterfly room when my mum passed away. I’m sure my mum would also have been really proud of me. I’d like to thank all my colleagues on the Stroke Unit, particularly Caroline Bradley and Jacky Fairfax, my friends at Rotherham Harriers and Athletics Club and my family for supporting me.”
Joanne will be raising money to help the charity install a fourth Purple Butterfly room at Rotherham Hospital. The £75,000 purpose-built rooms offer privacy and dignity to patients nearing the end of their lives, and their families.
The money goes towards funding all the building works, a specialist bed, medical equipment, painting and furnishings and a waiting room with a television, fridge, microwave and a kettle.
To help her reach her fundraising target, Joanne also held a race night at the Three Horseshoes Pub, Wickersley, a quiz night at the Ravenfield Arms in Rotherham plus various cake sales at Rotherham Hospital.
Barry Mellor, Chair of the Charitable Funds Committee, said: “We’re incredibly proud of Joanne’s fundraising efforts at the London Marathon. She really is a fantastic ambassador for the charity. Thank you to everyone who supported her, whether by sponsoring her or cheering her on during her training.”
You can support Joanne by donating online until the end of May - http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JoanneClough_TRFT_Charity
For more information about the Rotherham Hospital and Community Charity please contact Suzanne Rutter on 01709 426821 or via Charity@rothgen.nhs.uk. Alternatively, visit www.therotherhamft.nhs.uk/charity.